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letters to the editor

No do-overs in marring historic district, clearing woodlots

Posted 18 November 2018 at 7:52 am


At first, clearing woodlots to make way for wind turbines in Barre seems unrelated to erecting a convenience store within what amounts to an historic district in the Town of Gaines.

But how different are they?

First, in different ways, each threatens something that makes Orleans County special. We collectively possess considerable habitat diversity. Is destroying it to allow today’s version of what will eventually become the abandoned oil derricks of the future wise? Why would we want to make the lush landscape of the Town of Barre look more like Roscoe, Texas? This ironically comes as we approach 2020! Many of us will be gone before the “chickens” come home to roost, but future generations will be left with the consequences.

History is another extremely valuable asset in Orleans County.

We won’t get any “do-overs” where the de facto Cobblestone Historic District is concerned either. Convenience store ventures in the midst of numerous quaint, historically significant, 1830’s Greek Revival vernacular-style buildings, constructed, in part, with lake-washed cobbles doesn’t make sense to me. How wise was it to build the ghastly Orleans County Jail on the otherwise magnificent Courthouse Square in Albion?  Modern, it was; appropriate, it was not—at least as I see it.

When we have a choice, why not allow history to help us avoid repeating the mistakes made by earlier generations? After all, this is not a dress rehearsal. It is “the show”. We won’t get any second chances.

Sincerely yours,

Gary Kent


Supporters for wind energy projects need to make their voices heard

Posted 15 November 2018 at 7:57 am


Supporters of the Lighthouse and Heritage Wind projects, which includes the Town of Yates, Somerset, and Barre, believe that these projects will be an incredible opportunity for this area and for all of the residents.

Not only will the wind turbine projects generate an initial economic boost for local businesses and restaurants during construction, but in the long-term will offer tax relief, and financial assistance for the towns and schools as well as up to 20 full-time, well-paid permanent jobs between the 2 projects. Other benefits will be long-term clean, renewable energy, cleaner air, and less dependence on fossil fuels. There is no logical downside.

The organized opponents of the wind turbine projects are angry and passionate, but are just wrong. The facts don’t back them up as you will see if you look for yourself on fact-based, scientific sites. Any negative consequences the opposition brings up just pale in comparison to the consequences of burning fossil fuels to create electricity. How can they be against progress, lower taxes, and clean air?

The reality is that after the wind turbines are in, they will be part of the landscape and will likely be a welcome part of it. No one notices the power poles that line the roads any more do they? The birds will still be flying around, there will still be deer in our fields and farmers on tractors planting and harvesting. People will hardly notice the turbines as they drive by. What will be noticed is lower taxes for all of the residents, better roads, new equipment for the towns, and programs for the schools. Our farmers will be in better shape, and more likely to be able to pass their farms down to the next generation rather than face possibly having to sell.

We believe that the residents living in the towns where these projects will be built will be happy that the projects passed and are in their communities.

It is up to all people in these areas that support these wind projects to stand in support and make their voices heard. Write letters to the editor, write supportive comments to the Public Service Commission, attend your local board meeting and speak up, talk to your neighbors.

We – the mothers, grandmothers, fathers and grandfathers – will make the difference in whether these projects are built or not by showing our support and getting the true and exciting facts out about how they will help our towns and our world.

Chris Loss, Barre

Susan Campbell, Lyndonville

Albion resident wants damaged utility pole to be removed

Posted 14 November 2018 at 4:02 pm


I would like to express my concern over both an eyesore and a safety issue here in the Village of Albion.

On August 24th, a single-car accident just north of the intersection of West Park and West Academy Streets resulted in significant damage to the utility pole shown in the photo.

That evening, National Grid came and placed a new pole and moved the power lines (cutting off several feet of the damaged pole).  To date, nearly three months later the cable wires and the damaged pole remain.

Although, it is an eyesore that I see everyday, my larger concern is that someone is going to get injured. The risk is unnecessary!

I did inquire at the Village office as to who to report it to, or ask for help and was told “there is no one, it could be year.”

I can’t accept that…there must be someone, somewhere responsible for such things!


Marlene Seielstad


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Gaines should get expert advice if it makes changes to setting of Historic District

Posted 13 November 2018 at 11:09 am


Al Capurso is right about any expansion or substantive change in the Cobblestone Historic District. If Dollar General were going to commit to designing and building an architecturally significant building I might change my mind.

The fact is though that there are historic buildings having international architectural significance there. Tampering with the setting should only be undertaken under the supervision of architectural firms with nationwide experience in such matters.

I did not really want to be involved in the Dollar General matter other than to say Gaines does not have the expertise to deal with the architectural  issues. Then I saw someone write that Gaines could hold private meetings to change its ZBA “by laws.” If a majority of the board was there, the law was definitely broken.

Gaines will need to start over again or risk the results of a lawsuit if followed any of these new by laws. You never know for sure from the papers but it lookd like someone needs to get a grip on this nonsense. This is sophisticated stuff that can make every one look like fools at the end of the day.

Conrad F Cropsey


In Murray, the push for better town governance will continue

Posted 13 November 2018 at 7:50 am


The campaign for better governance raised issues in Town of Murray policy. I would have expected a more focused response from our officials instead of defensive bullying and diversionary character attacks. One must question the motivations of our two senior elected officials who led the charge.

Our town supervisor submitted a letter to the editor in this forum which knowingly contained material misrepresentations of fact. The letter was subsequently removed and justifiably so. His response to the removal was to arrogantly mock the credibility of the Orleans Hub and the Friends of Holley and Murray forum.

Murray documents clearly prove our water department is losing a lot of money. Its fund balances are in decline and Mr. Morgan hasn’t produced one ounce of evidence to the contrary. Ironically, the day after the election he requested a November 27th work meeting to discuss raising water rates and the sustainability of his department. If all is well, why the meeting after the election?

Mr. Morgan, I would encourage you to check your records and facts. While our home is not in your water district, my wife pays on at least 7 parcels on our road which contributes significantly to your operations and maintenance. We have access to Holley public water at our residence and don’t need the additional burden of another 38-year payment for the same water from you. Your rhetoric is simply to sidestep documented fact that your Murray Water Department is a mismanaged financial train wreck.

The only political issue respectfully addressed was the Holley School Board of Education’s response to the campaign signs. The school board acknowledged it overstepped. That shows maturity and good faith. The issue is not the signs. The real issue is voting at the school. I am proud of the courage displayed by the 9 candidates who stood their ground against government infringement of their rights. Their courage contributed to a better understanding of government and the entire community will benefit from the experience. I look forward to the discussion in the coming months and hats off to the School Board for rolling up your sleeves and working on it.

Hopefully we can work on restoring confidence in our town government. Untruths, bullying and repeated denial of documented fact by top officials only creates hate, division and political instability. Our children are watching. What are we teaching them??

So, the struggle for better town government will continue. I never said it would be easy. We’ve come a long way from the days of bombing houses and burning barns but clearly still have a long way to go.

To the more than 600 people who agree with me and would like to improve our community, thank you.

Next year is another election year. Three seats are up on the board. The process begins in Spring.

Joseph Sidonio


Newly elected Gaines councilman thanks community for support

Posted 12 November 2018 at 10:48 am


I would like to take a moment to thank everyone who supported me in my recent quest to be elected to the position of councilman for the Town of Gaines.

This was my first time running for public office and it has been a great experience. I have learned a lot and made many new friends. I truly appreciate everyone’s support from allowing me to place signs on their property, to offering me words of encouragement and advice, and most importantly their vote.

I would also like to personally thank Joyce Riley for her professionalism and for running a clean campaign that didn’t revolve around personal attacks toward the opponent, which is sadly all too common, but rather the issues of our town. Now it’s time to get to work doing what is right for the people of the Town of Gaines.

Humbled to be their councilman.

Corey Black


ZBA is unfairly criticized in Gaines

Posted 9 November 2018 at 7:43 am


There seems to be a lot of whining in the Town of Gaines about the Zoning Board of Appeals coupled with some misinformation and exaggeration.

1. Regarding the Dollar General, the “Proper Procedure” for any permit application is to first contact the code enforcement officer who then gathers information, applications and direction on the application process. Why no complaints there?

2. The ZBA is a judicial Board. The last meeting was ZBA business, not an open public forum. Its purpose was to conduct ZBA business including new by-laws to replace the old ones that came up missing from the Town Hall (despite constant requests to look at security footage and an investigation).

3. As for the noise and not able to hear… there were plenty of seats up front and an offer was made to those seats which was ignored.

4. There are signage laws in the Town of Gaines which should be followed. It appears that a certain group of residents prefer to pick and choose which laws they want to follow and which ones they would like to ignore. In case you did not know, flags are much different than signs. Please ask your neighbor where I can get a Trump flag.


Sue Smith


ZBA in Gaines makes it difficult for public to get answers

Posted 8 November 2018 at 4:54 pm


The Gaines Zoning Board Of Appeals (ZBA) is at it again. They object to the Cobblestone Historic District signs (“Save Cobblestone Historic District, No Dollar General”), because now only 40-day “temporary signs” are allowed without a permit; yet the codes officer says it’s permissible for my neighbor to display an outdoor Trump flag permanently. Amazing.

At the recent ZBA meeting the Board refused to answer why, all of a sudden, they object to recently placed signs now, when they were permissible in the past. They have been up less than 40 days, and ZBA Chairperson Mike Grabowski, who condemns the Cobblestone signs, directed the town attorney to look into it. Could it be the ZBA is trying to protect their pet project – the ramming of a Dollar General store down our throats in violation of the Historic District?

I was told I was being disruptive for asking the question and insisting on an answer. Board member David Thom said these meetings are “business meetings,” where public input and questions are not permitted. So answering citizens’ questions is not the business of our ZBA. I have been allowed to give input and ask for clarification at past ZBA meetings. So what gives?

Obviously, there is something different happening here with the Dollar General project. Well, the Gaines Town Planning Board was abolished years ago, and the ZBA Chairperson and the Gaines Town Supervisor have an adversarial relationship at best. I’m beginning to see why. Gaines doesn’t need a rogue, closed and secretive ZBA. By the time the ZBA gets around to scheduling a public hearing on a project, they’ve already made up their minds without public input, and the applicants have already spent resources. A done deal. Sounds like a lousy system to me.

When a Gaines resident asked Chairperson Mike Grabowski to speak up over the loud noise of the Albion High School cafeteria freezer compressor, he tersely told her “there are chairs up front.” He resumed speaking in low volume monotones, so only the 4-member board, and not the 20-some people in attendance, could hear him. It was obvious. Three months ago it was suggested the ZBA utilize a PA system. That never materialized.

After the meeting was adjourned, I learned that the next ZBA meeting won’t be held at the high school where it’s hard to hear and the rest rooms are locked. Mr. Grabowski failed to announce this.

Al Capurso


In ‘information age’ we see a dumbing down of America

Posted 8 November 2018 at 8:06 am


I recently wrote about problems with the Republican Party and many of its current candidates. As expected, someone wrote and disagreed. I have learned that this will run after the election so there are a couple of comments at the end.

The unfortunate thing was that so many of the facts and conclusions seemed to come from Rupert Murdock-owned tabloids. He has 163 with Fox TV and the New York Post heading up the US arms of his empire. It also appeared that there were may have been things from equally illegitimate sources like the National Inquirer, Washington Times, and Judicial Watch;

I did recognize any of the daily lies from the Russian-based sites that one of our former elected officials publishes daily on Facebook but we have to be careful about that too.

False, misstated, contradictory material, and conclusions and programs put forward with false promises are endemic in the Trump era. But Trump did not start it. Congressman Gingrich started the trend to put partisan politics before truth even after elections were over in about 1993. His approach of putting the country second has grown to the point of ruination. Worse, with internet tabloids pervading what we see and read, intellectual slough has become a norm.

Any person who does not fact check and votes based on fear and fact free nostrums is guilty of being unpatriotic!

Here we are in the midst of the “information age” but what we are seeing is the dumbing down of America. Worse, the Russians are helping! With no common base of facts to discuss, the glue that holds us together is disintegrating. When each person lives in their own fantasy there can be no democracy or intelligent debate to sustain it. That’s why I beg all to fact check and, in this election, vote for democratic candidates.


The first comment is that we are have no good plan for health care. You should look

this up but the Obama plan was first developed by the Heritage Foundation in the 1980’s as a was to solve our health care problems with subsidized private insurance. It was presented to Congress in the early ’90s by Senator Chaffee of Connecticut and praised far and wide by the Republican’s including Speaker of the House Gingrich. (And when the Republicans liked it they did not claim there were going to the death squads which, of course, never happened either.) The provisions which permitted subsidization are now under attack by the Republican Party so a primarily private solution is now highly unlikely.

The second is if you look at those states where Donald Trump successfully took his statistically false racist message about immigrant hordes at our door step worked best in the old Dixie states. It is not true they just wanted to keep slavery. They invaded the north to seize the country and caused the death of hundreds of thousands of our ancestors. Trump’s time in office is time limited but the flame of racism is harder than we thought to quench.

Conrad F. Cropsey


Barre resident suspects bias among town officials for wind turbine project

Posted 5 November 2018 at 5:13 pm


I urge Town of Barre residents to go to Know Your Facts USA, on Facebook, and watch the Town Board Meeting of Oct. 10, 2018. It’s a long meeting, but worth watching, especially the last few minutes!

You think there is bias at the federal level? There certainly is at the local level with both the Town Board and Planning Board. George, as was said a couple of years ago, “the fix was in.”

Susan Carr